There are defeats and awful defeats, and then there was Friday night’s 27-10 defeat by UTEP at Sun Bowl Stadium for Boise State.
Does it rank among the worst episodes in the history of the program?
It undoubtedly exhibits all the characteristics of a mind-boggling loss. Think about the following: The Broncos’ defense, which came into the game ranked No. 2 on third down and No. 14 nationally against the run, allowed the Miners to convert eight third downs for a total of 199 running yards.
Prior to Friday’s game, Boise State’s opponents were a combined 6-for-38 on third downs and averaged only 76.3 running yards. Despite losing their starting center and running back for a substantial amount of the second half, the Miners amassed over 200.
And last week, this UTEP (2-3) team lost to New Mexico by a score of 27-10 while committing seven, count ’em, seven, turnovers. The Broncos defeated that New Mexico team 31-14 just two weeks ago. The Miners, a 15-point underdog on Friday night, have only won 3-8 of their last 11 games and last season, they were defeated by Boise State 54-13.
Gavin Hardison, the quarterback for UTEP, appeared practically faultless as he completed 10 of 11 throws for a completion rate of 91 percent, one touchdown, and a QB rating of 214.8. Hardison would have thrown two touchdown passes, but a first-half penalty for an ineligible receiver downfield canceled a 61-yard scoring play.
Hank Bachmeier, the senior quarterback for Boise State, completed just 13 of his 34 passes for 93 yards and a score, further highlighting the offense’s meager performance. Latrell Caples’ 28-yard reception by the Broncos was the greatest play of the evening for them. And the Broncos’ running attack turned out to be even worse, totaling just 84 yards on 19 runs.
The defeat on Friday may have been Boise State’s worst since losing 42-23 to Virginia in 2017, a setback that ended a 32-game home winning streak in nonconference play. Prior to this season, Virginia had only won two games and had dropped 20 of its previous 21 road contests. Going into that game, the Broncos were a 12.5-point favorite.
Both of Boise State’s losses this season by a margin of 17 points. Although the Broncos were 7-5 last year, they did not suffer many crushing defeats. Their most recent defeat by more than 17 points came at the hands of BYU in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but the Cougars were ranked No. 9 at the time.